Friday, February 27, 2009


Mikey is like a wind-up toy--scratch his back, and he'll keep reading out loud!

Jimmer is happy to have found this trick!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Lent is here!

I'm making this Lenten wreath again with the kids later today.

Then we get ashes tonight at Mass.

We also dug out our Mite Jar.

The kids really enjoy this one. Joe's mom prepared this Mite Jar for us and we use it as another Lenten tradition to collect money (from ourselves) throughout the season to later donate to charity. Grammy wrote out 40 fun math challenges on strips of paper. Each evening during Lent, one of the kids picks one strip out of the jar and everyone helps figure out how much change we put into the jar. The strip might ask for $.05 for every chair in the house,

or $.20 for each bed, or $.05 for each light bulb downstairs. We give a little change each day. It encourages a spirit of grateful giving...and it's a source of entertainment for all of us each evening after our reflection prayers and after we blow out the Lenten wreath candles.

Grammy gave us this Mite Jar about 8 years ago, so it was certainly before our kids could do the math. At a very young age, though, they still loved to search through the house for all of the items or try to do the basic counting. Now, the kids have replaced a few of the strips with some of their own ideas.

I've created a very basic document with ready-made Mite Jar strips that is available to print from here. I plan to edit it to make it a little cuter at some point, but the plain style will suffice for now. After all, plain and simple is symbolic for Lent, right?!

Between all of the busy-ness this week already (hosting Bunco, re-fi closing...), we've been preparing ourselves for the Lenten season. It is something that we always look forward to as it is a wonderful time to reflect on and strengthen our faith. Making some fun family traditions helps reinforce the real meaning of the season rather than focusing on the more secular traditions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jimmer learns a "naughty" word

"Mommy, the word have is a naughty word."

When Jimmer said this to me, I was wondering where he got that idea. Did he hear another naughty word and get it confused with the word have?

"It's a naughty word because it doesn't follow the rules." he said.

Ah. Now I remember! (Phfew!)

In one of his reading lessons a few weeks ago, he learned that the word have is disobedient because it doesn't follow the same rule as the other short words with a silent e at the end.

Instead of having a long-a sound, it is disobedient...(or naughty!) and uses a short-a sound instead! Those little rule breakers.

I'm sure he'll be learning a lot of "naughty" words in his reading book. The English language is FULL of disobedient words!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jimmer fiddlin' around during latest violin performance

After patiently waiting during a number of songs he wasn't able to play, Jimmer decided to start doing his own fiddlin' around.

Here's one snippet of his fiddling and fidgeting.

We also have a handful of other video clips, including one where Jimmer blinked and winced to the rhythm of the entire song and another where he started stomping to the music so that we (in the back row) could hear it.

We did talk with him about not clowning around when he's on stage. We'll see how he does at this coming weekend's performance. (Sigh...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Traditional Music Festival

The kids' latest violin gig was at a downtown arts center for the annual fundraiser for Friends of Traditional Music.

All went very well...

(fiddlin' away)

...until there were some featured students playing.

That would be when there were several songs in a row that Jimmer didn't play.

He was being pretty good at first.

Then he started yawning,

straightening his hair,

checking behind his ears,

and tapping both feet at once.

Then he decided to share in his own entertainment.

A bit of a sword fight with the bows started...

...and I was sinking in my seat.

Good thing I was in the back row of seats or I may have run up there to stop him...or at least may have made a scene by violently making gestures to get him to stop as I tried to stay in my seat. Again, I'm glad I was in the back row, helpless.

Another 6 year old girl was doing similar things and lifting up her dress and all, so I guess I shouldn't be so hard on Jimmer.

They loved the green room(s) because that's where the cookies and drinks were located. I'm just happy the adults at the arts center were thoughtful enough to wait until AFTER their performance to offer them cookies. Who knows what antics Jimmer would have come up with if he had been sugared up beforehand!

After they all got a few cookies and some soda in them, we sat in on a kids' fiddle work shop. It was basically a little jam session where professional musicians helped kids learn how to jam together with different instruments--violins, guitar, banjos, etc. Maybe our kids will partake in one of these clinics next time.

Since my new camera doesn't have a video feature, I still have to figure out how to get video uploaded on here from our regular video camera.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Fittingly symbolic for the occasion...

My wedding ring casting a heart-shaped shadow in our hymnal.

When I saw this post by Brasher Girl, I couldn't resist setting it up and trying it myself (even if it's not technically great).

Now go give your honey with that matching wedding band a big smooch and hug...and let him know that he still has your heart wrapped around his little finger!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Krispy Kisses

The kids and I just finished making these festive krispy treats for some of their neighborhood friends.

There's more about them here.

Since I don't really need to wash the bowl (after the kids scraped it clean with their spoons), I'll go now and get some real hugs and smooches from our kids (you know, just a warm up for St. Valentine's Day)...and then think about the chocolate truffles I'm making tomorrow!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Science Model

Any guesses?

Kathleen and Mikey are reading Blood and Guts. I love this book for their level.

They got to the section on lungs and decided to make a lung model...

...complete with a working diaphragm (cut off balloon on the bottom) to show that when it's relaxed (or arched up), the lungs deflate, exhale.

Now that the lesson is over, Jimmer has given this lung a workout!

I wish I had been able to make lungs in my physiology lab.

We're looking forward to finishing up the book with some more fun tests and experiments for the eyes, ears, balance, and nervous system.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Just in time for our 76 degree weather!

The girls wanted to learn to crochet, so I figured I better brush up on my skills. Mary Kate likes my hat and has requested a pink one for herself.

I want to modify the pattern then remake my hat. I don't like a few things about it. Maybe I'll just wash it and see if it shrinks more to my liking. I think I'll also make some matching wrist warmers and a scarf. (Yes, I get cold here in the winters. I've turned into quite a wimp, in fact!)

I'm also working on this fun and bright hexagon blanket by Lucy at Attic 24. The kids think it's pretty cool that we have 3 different blankets their great grandma crocheted. Maybe my future great grandkids will have a couple of my blankets someday.

Oh, yes. I should get around to teaching the girls a few more stitches as well! Then they can help with a couple of my hexagon rounds!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Out for a Sunday ride

When Dad said he'd take the kids for a bike ride, the kids were all on high alert until they finally left.

Joe just had to finish fixing his bike and then they'd leave.

So the kids swarmed around the driveway and street...waiting.

Much like a dog whose owner is holding its leash--ready.

When Dad appeared on his bike, they gathered around him ready to go.

Then they all swarmed the street again.

On their way.


They came back with only one jumbo Band-aid applied to Mary Kate's knee.

Not bad!